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Doc. 95. fight with the Albemarle.

Confederate States steamer Albemarle, Plymouth, N. C., May 7, 1864.
Commander B. F. Pinkney, Commanding, etc.:
Sir — I have the honor to report that in obedience to yours of the fifth instant, I left here at meridian of that day, together with the prize steamer Bombshell, as tender, and the Cotton Plant, to convoy to Alligator river. As soon as we reached the mouth of Roanoake river, we discovered six of the enemy's gun-boats in the Sound, about ten miles distant.1

They immediately got under way, and stood down the Sound, E. N.E., until we had run about sixteen miles, when three more gun-boats (double-enders) of a much more formidable class, carrying from ten to twelve guns each, made their appearance. Perceiving the unequal contest in which we were compelled to engage, I immediately prepared for action.

The enemy steamed up in two columns, half a mile apart, delivering his broadside as he passed us; two of his largest and swiftest vessels breaking off from the column, bore rapidly down upon the Bombshell, and pouring in their broadsides, forced her to surrender. The third or fourth shot fired by the enemy broke off twenty inches of the muzzle of the after gun of the Albemarle.

The action lasted from twenty minutes to five until after dark, when they moved off. One of the largest and heaviest boats endeavored to run us down, but failed in the attempt, although she struck us heavily on the starboard quarter. I think we succeeded in sinking her, as we gave her two shots while she hung to us, which must have passed through her.

The rapidity of the firing caused such a dense smoke that I was unable to ascertain the damage done the enemy, but I think I am safe in saying that we sunk one of their most formidable boats, and severely crippled two others.

The contest was a very severe one, lasting about three hours. The disadvantages under which I labored from the tiller giving way, and the impossibility of producing steam enough to manage the vessel to advantage, prevented me from inflicting much greater damage than we did. The smoke-stack was riddled to such an extent as to render it useless, and so great was my extremity at one time that I was forced to tear down the bulkheads, throw in all my bacon, lard and other combustible matter, to produce steam enough to bring me back to the river.

I cannot speak too highly of the officers and crew, especially of the following-named men, viz.: John Benton, James Cullington, J. B. Cooper, H. A. Kahn, John Smith, H. P. Hoy, Thomas Wooten, John Steely, and T. Nichols. The pilot, John B. Hopkins, deserves great credit for the manner in which he manoeuvred the vessel, and brought her safely back to port. Since the engagement, I have learned by flag of truce that there was no one hurt on the Bombshell.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. Cooke, Commander, C. S. N.

1 See Document 17, page 212, Volume 10, Rebellion Record.

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Thomas Wooten (1)
John Steely (1)
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H. A. Kahn (1)
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